Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Nov 23, 2018

Fresh Eggs, Sunroom & The First Winter Storm, Thanksgiving & Family, Blog Re-Vamp

Fresh Eggs, Sunroom & The First Winter Storm-
Unlike some people I was really thrilled last night when I heard some really strong gusting winds hit the windows and heard the rain! It is been so long since we've had any rain, probably a couple months. We really don't get summer storms that produce any rain anymore. 20+ years ago, when we first moved to the Boise area, we would pretty regularly get some summer storms with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Those days seem to be over. This morning when we woke up there were lots of leaves on the ground and everything was really wet, perfect. Air smells great and there's still more rain headed this way today. David cleaned out our gutters a few days ago knowing the storm was coming in. It's so much easier to do in the leaves are dry in the gutters! Our maple tree still has quite a few leaves, but that's just the way it goes. Every year.

Sunroom on left

Dave decided to put the coop sun room up Wednesday since he had that day off work. We were both off work all week on vacation, a nice treat! Dave created this sun room for the girls years ago after I saw something similar online. We salvaged lumber, and bought some really cheap, used shower doors. Dave then built a frame for it and made it removable, so we can store it when spring comes. The chicken started exploring it as soon as he had it up. n space and they were taking dust baths yesterday. It just gives some extra room for the birds if the weather gets really bad. Ironically two winters ago when we had Snowmageddon 2017 we had decided not to put it up, go figure. That winter turned out to be the heaviest snow on record, or close to it, in the Boise area ever-

It's been really fun collecting eggs again! We've been getting one small egg everyday and I'm not sure if it's from one chicken or both of the younger ones? They're a little smaller so I suspect they're not from our two older hens. The really nice thing about having younger hens is that you know you'll have several years worth of fresh eggs. While the older hens are doing pretty well, they stopped playing when they went thru their Autumn molt. I suspect they will probably start laying again but time will tell.

With the colder weather I brought out my faux sheepskin chair cover from Ikea last summer, nice and toasty! My back always gets cold sitting next to the glass in the dining area-

The morning after

Thanksgiving & Family-
We had a really great time yesterday for Thanksgiving, and we hosted. I provided the following (sorry no photos)- the 22 Lb. turkey, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, homemade cranberry sauce (Emeril's), Indian pudding and a Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake.  Since Dave can't really eat dairy anymore I wanted to have a dessert that he would enjoy. My one daughter brought a pumpkin cheesecake and I made Indian Pudding, both with dairy. The chocolate almond tart was a big hit with everybody! I could go the rest of my life without ever eating another pumpkin pie anything. I'm just not a fan. Between an apple pastry my daughter brought, a berry pie, pumpkin cheesecake and the chocolate tart there were just desserts galore! I must say I really miss having a separate dining room that we had at our last house.

Dining table needs to be put back together

Our current house is smaller and has one space for the kitchen/dining area. With the table leaf we can seat 6 and you can squeeze in 8 if you need to. We also had a card table set-up that works next to that. It was a tight squeeze but we all had a good time and lots of great food and that's all that matters. We also had an unexpected guest which was fine, someone was at their families house and wanted to drop over. I'm a big believer in the idea that a house full of love has elastic walls. Ironically I had roasted an extra turkey breast for plenty of leftovers.The next day or two and I will clean off the carcass to make turkey soup.We don't watch football here, play computer games, we just talk and it's really nice to have just family. Someone in our family has gone to other Thanksgivings elsewhere and said there were just way too many people, friends, neighbors etc. They missed just having family time to just hang out. That's the way we like it! I hope you had a great one!

Blog Re-Vamp
You'll be seeing some changes on the layout of my blog soon. You may have already noticed a few? I'm eliminating a lot of the Amazon links on the left side bar since it wasn't really generating much income. For whatever reason people just weren't looking at various items. The reality is that I found I earned more money as a Hometalk featured blogger in two months than I did in the last year or so with Amazon, so I'm concentrating on that. My total out of all the years I have been blogging has been less than $120.00 or so. While I don't mind working for free I would actually like this blog to generate some income at some point. Time will tell, but you'll see some changes. I still may have specific items in specific posts with a link, but many of the other generic links will go away. Everything else is still there, just maybe on the other side of the blog.

Nov 21, 2018

First Winter Storm On The Way!

First Winter Storm On The Way!
Our first big storm in on the way!!! So excited, no real rain here for some many months. Snow in the mountains will be very welcomed.

Nov 19, 2018

Anniversary Road Trip, Winter Is Here!

Anniversary Road Trip-
Last year we went to the mountain resort of McCall, Idaho for an overnight trip for anniversary. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back this year for our 25th! We drove up Saturday morning and spent the night, came back Sunday afternoon. We stayed a nice little hotel that's right near the lake, which has a nice 5 Star restaurant next door. Weather was great, it was clear and sunny but cold. The room was nice and spacious and had a very deep bathtub which I loved, able to soak up to my neck. McCall is an interesting dichotomy with very wealthy people that live there part time or have mega cabins there. There's also more people like Dave and I who just go up for a day or the weekend. Then you have a lot of service workers, many of whom are seasonal. The ski season hasn't quite started yet, since there's really no snow to speak of. We drove up to Brundage Mountain to see what the ski slopes look like and not for sure-

After we drove back towards town, we drove part way around the lake, but sadly part of the road was closed for construction. We didn't make the normal loop all the way around, but stopped here right after breakfast. Sunday morning. It's a short walk from the hotel-

Payette Lake 

Boats out for the winter

Didn't find anything at the usual thrift store I usually go to. We tried a couple new food places- one for breakfast and one for coffee in the afternoon. We're probably like a lot of people who don't go up there very often, we tend to stay at the restaurants on the main drag. We had lunch at a local brewery place, great burgers, fun decor!

We had a really nice dinner at Rupert's restaurant next door to the hotel. They have some really unique decor!

Big wooden airplane props

I asked her waitress since it was our 25th anniversary if she could take a photo of us. She obliged and also brought out a brownie with a sparkler sticking out of it! Was kind of like a short round sparkler with a spike on the end that they stuck in the brownie. That got every body's attention in the room for sure. Is it cool idea and I couldn't get my camera phone out fast enough since I didn't know if it was going to start a fire! Magnesium flaring up 2 feet, wow! It was really nice and festive and someone else was celebrating a birthday. We watched the sun go down over the lake.

Lots of windows facing the lake

It was definitely colder up there than in Boise. It was 14 degrees yesterday with morning lots of frost! But this sky was beautiful and we had a nice leisurely drive back. We decided to go there again next year and already looking at booking another stay.

Anya is ready for winter

Winter Is Here!
There are few leaves still falling down, but the cold weather is definitely here. We've had some weather in the teens and twenties already.  We're hopefully going to have some serious rain in a few days, as it's been really really dry. There's no snow in the foothills yet, a little unusual but it's early in the winter still. The coop is all prepped for winter except for the sun room. I'm hoping for eggs soon! Someone has been in the nesting box, so that's a good sign. *** UPDATE- we got our first egg today from one of the new hens! Yeah!

The winter bird bath is out, great in the really cold weather-

Gnome is tucked in too

Girls had some free range time today, loved it!

Sarah is getting big!

Our maple tree still has a lot of leaves on it, as well as our apple tree. We just really need some wind or to take care of that. The comforter is on the bed along with flannel sheets, and the new Ikea cover Dave and I got in Salt Lake City. Anya likes to burrow when it colder-

furry paws sticking out

We swapped out our more mild weather clothing for polar fleece, sweatshirts, flannel blouses. Hats and gloves are out and we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. We hosting this year with everyone else bringing some side dishes. With two toddlers here I'm sure it will be busy!

Nov 4, 2018

Worx Electric Leaf Blower Review, More Winter Prep, Thrifting At Target

Worx Electric Leaf Blower Review-
Well it's that time of year when the leaves are falling and it's time to rake them up. A lot of our leaves are already down in the front yard, but we still have our big maple tree in the backyard holding onto some. After I was cleaning up our driveway and back deck I realized I never did a review on our little mini electric leaf blower! After using it for a few years I decided I would share my experiences here if you're interested. I bought it when I was having some back problems, and was having a lot of trouble sweeping the driveway and front sidewalks. I've never liked gas blowers that they tend to be really loud, would be overkill for us and you have to deal with gas/oil mixtures. When I saw this blower I thought it might be a good fit. It turns out I was right! It's lightweight, has a rechargeable lithium battery, and is really easy to use-

Small charger works great

Separate from just blowing leaves you can also use it to clear off your deck/turf, clear out your gutters of dry leaves, and blow leaves out of your flower beds in the spring. You can also blow them IN before winter. So there's actually quite a few things you can use it for. Ours came with the accessory kit to clean car interiors, but you may not need it.  It's just a nice extra feature. If you click on the tab you can see more info on features and accessories that come with it. The battery recharges pretty quickly, snaps right in. It has a simple on/off button, and runs for about 1-2 hours. So if you want something that's lightweight, easy to use, and quieter this is really a nice blower! DO NOT BUY the 20 Volt as that would probably be really under powered. If you click on this link you can also shop for the other versions-

Leaf Covered herb box

More Winter Prep-
With highs in the 40's is forecast for next week, lows in the 20s, winter is right around the corner! Last night I used some of our last counter-ripened tomatoes/jalapenos for salsa. We have a few more left that we will freeze and then we are done with the veggie garden produce. It's really great to be able to slice into a homegrown tomato and have the juice go all over the cutting board! We continued more of our winter prep yesterday since the weather was dry and it was actually pretty mild, 58 degrees. It rained last night and more for today, so we got going while the going was good. I washed my car, cleaned out the inside really well and wiped everything down. Dave did more mowing and raking of leaves to go into the compost pile. We packed up all the Halloween decor, inside and out. More leaves dropping soon-

We went to the local Ace Hardware store with multiple coupons and got some really great deals. We bought a heavy-duty exterior extension cord to power the coop, since the old one died. We also got another outdoor extension cord for heated bird bath. It's in the herb box above and I still need to harvest the Rosemary. It's easy not to notice when those power cords are getting too many dents and dings. Dave always inspects them after we haven't used them in a while. He works in the electrical field. Always better to replace when you need to, and if you can get a great deal, even better. I've also never liked the look of orange power cords laying across the yard, so for the same price we bought dark brown. It just disappears. We packed up all the tools on our garden work bench and I covered it up with plastic for the season-

 I gave it multiple coats of paint this spring so I wanted to protect the new paint job. The top gets the most wear from rain and snow. We always put all the tools in the garage in a bucket where we can still get them. We don't leave them out in the weather all winter. We also got two new heat bulbs, since the 2 pack was so cheap (coupon) to heat up the coop if needed. I have never seen a 2-pack for $10.00. I only use those if its really really low twenties or colder. I'm going to get out some of her homemade frozen pasta sauce tonight and make a big pot of pasta with some salad and French bread. Perfect food going into a cold week. I washed and put out winter comforter out with our new cover from Ikea. I bought a King size since they can run a little small and I like more coverage. We were warm and toasty last night! I stored the quilt and fleece blanket for next spring...

Thrifting At Target-
I haven't been to Target for quite a while and I needed to buy some spray-on water repellent for shoes. I had some that I needed a treat before going into winter. For some odd reason it can be hard to find. While I was there I went through there little dollar store section and found a few fun things. I bought a little fake feather tree fr the house, $1.00, about 6" high-

Also a fun little banner that I'm going to take a work to work that says Be Merry, $3.00

And my sign above that says Good Tidings... It was the last sign that they had and when I turned it over I realized that the hanging hardware was upside down. It was supposed to be $3, but when I got to the checkout register I pointed it out the cashier and he charged me half price! Pretty good deal so I was happy. Just goes to show you can still negotiate a few things here and there. I'll take off the upside down bracket and move it to the correct side. Luckily it had little tiny phillips screws, so I can unscrew them, move to other side. I dropped off more donations to a local thrift store. I decided, in the interest of saving money and Dave's labor, not to replace some of our exterior holiday lights. Some died last year and I appreciate the fact that he does most of the outside work on those. I help with some, but mostly concentrate on the inside. It will be a win-win. Less work and save money. And it will still look great! 

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